Writerly Optimism

Source: http://pinterest.com/pin/128423026845829544/Although at first glance this post appears optimistic, it does contain a fairly large wallow in my own self-pity. I heartily recommend that all potential readers of this post should perhaps carry on as they were.

Read my previous post, or someone elses. I’ll just be further down the page in the foetal position.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wrong way. Go back.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Still here? Seriously? Don’t you realise you’ve just pressed the red button marked ‘do not press’? Ok. I’ll try not to sound too… er… depressed.

I recently realised that I started this blog to seek writing assurance. Prior to this revelation, I had convinced myself that that I blogged merely as a writing strategy. Stage 1 would introduce others to my blog posts, Stage 2 would see me post my creative writing and Stage 3, would (just maybe, eventually) see me completing a first draft of something. And while those clinical stages still apply, the driving force was and is assurance.

In truth, this ‘realisation’ was more like a dissolution of denial. You see, I feel a fraud calling myself a writer. Blah, blah. Broken record. I’ve said as much in my very first post, but I warned you, right, with that disclaimer at the top of the page? Ok. So, because I don’t believe I’m a natural writer, I’ve only told three people who know me that I like to write and probably only because they won’t ask if they can read any of it. So all in all, I’m sparing my family and friends from the pain of telling me that I shouldn’t give up my day job (I could look at that in a more positive way too but I’m trying to wallow).

Cue blogging. A sanctuary for fearful unwriterly writers. Sheltered by a degree of anonymity I have not yet been booed off the internet, nor have I been disliked (fortunately there isn’t a button for that) and I have even met people in this virtual world who are very encouraging (you know who you are, and thank you). Furthermore, assurance can be found in other writers’ blogs, both with those facing the same kind of anguish I am and those experienced writers who offer support, how-to advice and writerly optimism.

This week I’ve been floundering. I haven’t touched my WiP and I spent well over an hour toying with a writers’ prompt that only required me to construct a sentence. Epic fail. Deep in a hole of self-doubt I trawled blogs and the interweb searching for that piece of reassurance that resonated like a song of heartache. Instead I found this:

“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that” Stephen King

Barbed truth. That’s the type that hurts as you swallow it and leaves you with indigestion. I’m not an exception to this rule. Writers who don’t read are not successful writers. I would be better off investing my time into something that could be spoken with words like ‘achievable’ and ‘possible’. My only defence is – I like to write and I want to write better.  And that’s my shred of optimism – I’ll be that person who tried to prove Stephen King wrong.

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4 thoughts on “Writerly Optimism

  1. Oh, my goodness. Look at your blog posts. Just… look at them! They’re perfectly crafted pieces of writing, bursting with talent and ability. Of *course* you can write. You’re a writer! There’s no doubt about it.

    Sure, reading helps with writing. But the first rule to bear in mind when reading ‘how to’ tips or ‘directions for success’ (even from luminaries like Stephen King and myself :)) is ‘you don’t have to listen to anything anyone else says.’ If there are words inside you, let them out. You know best. Trust your own ability and your own heart. And (very important) – take it easy on yourself. Some days, some weeks, it won’t happen. The words will want to hide instead, and that’s fine and normal. Some days every word you write will make your heart sing, but some days it’ll be like carving your own heart out. Just do what you can, when you can, and be kind to yourself.

    There are words inside you – good words, wonderful words, which want to tell a story. Let them out. We want to read them.

    • You say the nicest things *sheepishly scuffs foot across ground*. I shall print this off and read it when I next lose my writerly will. It’s been a bad few weeks for my writing – I hope you don’t think I was fishing for the afore mentioned assurance! And I’m glad I held this post back a couple of days to edit it with calmer eyes. I cut out a lot of woe!

      As always, thank you for your support *hugs* I’m conquering writing one word at a time 🙂

  2. Oh Kate, look at me. A couple of years ago I proudly announced to myself (to myself only, because just like you I was too ashamed to share it with anyone else) that I will write a book. I had an idea, I had a plan, I even had a couple of chapters. And where am I now? Still there. Still afraid even to make a try – to send an article to a magazine, to show a story to my friends, whatever. So you see, there are people who are much further off than you in their procrastination and self-doubt 🙂 And hey, you definitely have the talent. I know, I know – you probably think I’m not the one to judge not being the native speaker but I read a lot of books in English and I can differentiate between “tasty” writing and “insipid” one. You and our common friend SJ are “tasty”. When I read your posts, it’s like eating a cake. Yum. Not everybody can do that, you know. When you read some books, it’s like eating unsalted rice waffles – you feel there’s something in your mouth, but nothing apart from that. Keep on going. Somewhere deep inside I’m sure that one day we will all make it 🙂

    • Tasty like cake. I’m very happy with that analogy! I really appreciate your encouragement. And please don’t doubt your writing, you’re amazing, perhaps we are both further ahead than we feel. All I can say is ‘aaggh!’ to procrastination and self-doubt!
      I know realistically unless I can start writing everyday (rather than sporadically) I’m going to struggle to move forward. I’ve got to stop worrying about where I am and focus on where I’m going.
      Thanks for your comment – it’s great to know I’m not alone 🙂

      I found this blog a couple of days ago by Chuck Wendig. I’m new to blogging (and unpractised at reading) so experienced folk may have already found his blog but if you need a writerly pep talk (and if you can handle the swearing), this one inspires me to write.
      http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2013/02/13/the-hardest-writerly-truth-of-them-all/

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